ROCKLAND — In September, the Rock Coast Networkers implemented major changes to how they structure their business and membership. For nearly two decades, the Rock Coast Networks was an organization structured like national networking groups like BNI. The members were exclusive to one another and only allowed one member per field or profession with strict attendance policies and met formally every Thursday morning.
“Today’s business owner and leader has changed because of staffing issues, business being the best it’s been in a long time and life just gets busy!” said the Networkers, in a news release.” The leadership and the members recognized these challenges and made improvements to how the organization was structured and designed for today’s business owners and/or leaders.”
These changes included several major changes. The first was the removal of exclusive memberships. This means opening up membership to anyone who wants to grow their business, who will accept and callback all referrals and refer business to their fellow members to assist their own clients, family and friends. Other changes included corporate sponsorship for two or more attendees for their overall business, weekly meetings over coffee to create a networking and business development environment and relaxed attendance requirements from attending all meetings to meet with RCN when you can.
RCN’s president, Chris Austin, stated, “Just like other networking organizations in Maine and across the country, attendance has been falling off because of dated policies that just turned people off. People really stay away from formal events that can be intimidating for some and committing weekly….that’s really difficult when you are having labor issues. Here in Midcoast Maine, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and the need for a support system for growing small businesses and organizations is very much needed. We just need to be flexible and create the environment in which business owners and leaders can network, refer to one another and grow with one another. I’m proud of our organization which was willing to make these changes to be relative to today’s business owner and leader. We have already seen increased participation and inquiries and I’m excited to see some new faces!”
If you would like to grow your business network and work with others that have the same mindset, please join Rock Coast Networkers for coffee. The groups meet weekly, from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m., at Rock Harbor’s tasting room at 5 Payne Ave in Rockland; this is a “coffee social” focused meeting.